The last 4 chapters of Hébert’s book on physical education for women deals with the areas of the female body that are in constant scrutiny in our modern society. Despite the progress we have made over the past century, the objectification and enhancement/alteration of those body parts thanks to digital software and its propagation over the inter webs is no different from the instruments of torture used in the name of fashion 100 years ago.
I do like how Hébert differentiates the chest from breasts and its development.
I think this will make for an eye-opening topic and I would love the feedback from ladies, asking them to bypass the fact that a man wrote the book; Hébert did recruit many volunteer ladies who were not shy about either exposing their bodies, but also allowing him to study and share their progress over a period of years as part of his research on the topic of female physical education. Granted, women now train more like men than was popular a while ago, but he clearly mentions that training for women is no different from training for men. The presentation of the programs may be different (call it targeted marketing), but it is a visionary approach that still has its day in our modern society.
Here is the outline of those chapters:
CHAPTER V. The abdomen and its deformities.
- The abdominal belt. Its line and normal curvature.
- Importance of the development of the abdominal muscles for health, beauty and strength.
- Common abdominal deformities in non-developed women.
CHAPTER VI. The breasts and their deformities.
- Distinction to establish between the chest and the breasts. Beauty of the chest’s shape.
- The breasts. Normal and defective shapes.
- The three stages of breast sagging.
- Causes for the sagging of breasts.
CHAPTER VII. Natural waist and its deforming by corsets.
- Judgment regarding a thin waist and the fashion of the corset.
- Disadvantages of corsets on health.
- Disadvantages of corsets on beauty/
- So-called rational corsets. Natural or muscular corset.
CHAPTER VIII. Postural beauty or ugliness.
- Importance of good posture.
- Causes and disadvantages of bad posture.
- Characteristics of correct posture.
- Characteristics of incorrect posture.